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"So as to comprehend that the sky is blue everywhere one doesn’t need to travel around the world."  -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

As I write, the sky is not blue.  It is gray.  A few shoots of green brave the brisk air.  Will spring ever arrive?  Forget April showers, bring me May flowers.

Through the blog A Cup of Jo, I was introduced to the work of illustrator / designer Maria Kalman.  The umbrella is just one her many whimsical works, but you should also see her covers for the New Yorker. 

heart hat

"Don't hang your hat higher than you can reach." -- Belizean proverb

Another day, another hat. 

I was at the bookstore perusing the shelves.  How does one select from the many choices?  Do you wander until a pretty cover catches your eye?   Does a recommendation from an unknown employee sway your decision?  Are you one who devotedly follows the bidding of the New York Time's Book Reviews?   Are you a member of a book club?  Do you follow a particular subject or genre?  I stood there feeling completely lost.

My method for book selection is rather erratic.  I start with my tried and true, my favorite authors.  But if they have nothing new or a particular title does not spark an interest, I meander up and down the aisles.  One time I was so frustrated that I systematically started at the end of the novel section with  the letter "Z."  Fortunately I didn't have far to go.  I came across the work of Emile Zola.  But today, it was a different story.  Nothing.  Zip.   Nadda.  Zilch. 

I've been consuming books like one gobbles chocolates.  My selections these days must be deliciously decadent.  Filled with delectable language, but void of political ramblings.  Nothing too serious, just something to make me think, ponder and question.

I am currently reading Sleep, Pale Sister by Joanne Harris.  She never fails to amuse and mesmerize. Note to self for next time at the bookstore, she has three books I have yet to read.  Why I didn't think to check her website before my visit is really beyond me.  It is ever more efficient than wandering the aisles, but then again, I would never have come across the work of Emile Zola without allowing for serendipity. 

embroidered hats!

"Live your life, do your work, then take your hat."  --  Henry David Thoreau

The Red Thread Project is back!  I just finished off these hats for a display I am sending to St. Louis.  In making them I made a discovery.  I can embroider on them.  Yes, yes.  Laugh as you might considering I have been working in the field of embroidery for over 20 years, I had not considered the creative possibilities of combining the two.  I love the work of designer Kristin Nichols, but still it didn't click as a possibility with my own work.  This could be due to impending deadlines and the need to knit 20-30 hats in under two weeks.  But yesterday I took the morning to play, and here are a few of my first attempts.
I know they aren't wild and crazy exciting, but I'm pleased.  Oh, so many possibilities!


"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."  --  Thomas Merton

Too tired to write much.  Downtown was awash in a sea of emerald green.  Walking was an act of defiance.  Walking quickly was a sign of stupidity.  There goes another stumbling leprechaun.  Why are St. Patrick Day celebrations drowned in alcohol? 

Ah well, I'm home now.  Time for a cuppa tea and my knitting.  I try to reserve Saturday afternoons for non-art knitting.  Right now I am making a shoulder bag which will later be embroidered and felted.  Main color?  Green of course.  After all, my middle name is Bailey. 

time will tell

"The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it." -- Bransky

Time is definitely an issue within the textile arts.  Yes, all art takes time to create, but the nature of the craft is by definition slow.  Part of my recent frustration is the slow nature of my work.  I can only knit so fast.  Beads don't magically adhere to fabric.  As a result, my brain contains a traffic jam of ideas and projects. 

A possible solution is to do more sketching.  I don't mean by pen and pencil, but with needle and thread.  I know this seems counter productive to my goal, but I think best with a needle and thread.  I need the tactile quality of the the thread moving through my fingers. 

These stitch drawings don't take more than a few hours to complete, so my aim is to make a few each week.  Maybe more.  Hopefully not less.  I need to experiment.  I've been doing them off and on for 12 years, so what new may I add?  Only time will tell.

thread be knotted

"The stitch is lost unless the thread be knotted."  --  Italian proverb

I have been in a blue funk for the past week.  The question of how to best make money while maintaining studio production has been the theme of my dreams.    Full time job?  Part time job?  Freelance?  Teach?  Administrate?  Pull shots of coffee?  There really aren't any answers.  I went back to the books that once gave me guidance and find that "I've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt."  These books are geared toward young artists starting out, not for those in mid-life art crisis.  My primary comfort is taken from the memories of conversations with respected artists expressing the very same frustrations when they were my age.  There seems to be a pattern of working hard for 15-20 years and then wondering if this is it.  Do I always have to work 60-70 hours a week and still not bring home the bacon (or soy bacon in my case)? 

So, as is my custom, I ignore my midnight ramblings and keep on working.  I finished the above piece on Monday.  It's part of my Chirurgi series.  I've been moving away from cell structures and toward these linear embroideries of nerve paths.  I love the loopy, linear quality of them. 

surveillance google style

"Big Brother is watching you."  -- George Orwell

Google has added a service that gives new meaning to George Orwell's novel 1984.  Reverse phone number directories have been available to the public for over a decade, but a street level photograph of your home is a new feature.  Is this really progress or an invasion of your privacy?  Go ahead.  Try it.  Just type in your home phone number with Google and see for yourself.   

Who took these photographs?  How did they take them?  With my listing I can see children sitting out on the front stoop two doors down from me.  Their faces aren't distinct, but there is enough detail that I can still tell who is who. 

Google conveniently allows for the removal of your address and phone number from their directory.  This doesn't take it off of other directory services, but then again, they don't provide photographs of your home.    What I find particularly infuriating is that the option to be included is not offered PRIOR to your home being photographed and posted for the entire world to see.  If my friend hadn't written me, I would not have known.

I typed in the phone numbers of family and friends around the country.  This new feature hasn't reached everyone, but give it time. 

The above image is from Wikimedia Commons and was taken in 2004 by Quadell.